BULLETIN OF THE DEPARTMENTS OF HISTORY AND
. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC SCIENCE IN QtfEEN'S
UNIVERSITY, KINGSTON, ONTARIO, CANADA.
NO. 30, JANUARY, 1919
ENGLISH COURTESY LITERATURE
FRED. B. MILLETT
Jackson Press, Kingston
BULLETIN OF THE DEPARTMENTS OF HISTORY AND
POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC SCIENCE IN QUEEN'S
UNIVERSITY, KINGSTON, ONTARIO, CANADA.
No. 1, Tfce Colonial Policy of Chatham, by W. L. Grant.
No. 2, Canada and the Most Favored Nation Treaties, by
O. D. Skelton.
No. 3. The Status of Women in New England and New France,
by James Douglas.
No. 4, Sir Charles Bagot: An Incident in Canadian Parlia-
mentary History, by J. L. Morison.
No. 5, Canadian Bank Inspection, by W. W. Swanson.
No. 6, Should Canadian Cities Adopt Commission Govern-
ment, by William Bennett Munro.
No. 7, An Early Canadian Impeachment, by D. A. McArthur.
No. 8, A Puritan at the Court of Louis XIV, by W. L. Grant.
No. 9, British Supremacy and Canadian Autonomy: An Ex-
amination of Early Victorian Opinion Concerning
Canadian Self-government, by J. L. Morison.
No. 10, The Problem of Agricultural Credit in Canada, by
No. 11, St. Alban in History and Legend: A Critical Examina-
tion; The King and His Councillors: Prolegomena to
a History of the House of Lords, by L. F. Rushbrook
No. 12, Life of the Settler in Western Canada Before the War
of 1812, by Adam Shortt.
No. 13, The Grange in Canada, by H. Michell.
No. 14, The Financial Power of the Empire, by W.W. Swanson.
(Continued on inside back page)
ENGLISH COURTESY LITERATURE BEFORE 1557.
IT would not, at first thought, seem necessary, in a healthy
state of society, to define the obvious distinction between
manners and morals, but, in the Tudor period, the word 'man-
ners' occasionally usurped so much of the meaning of 'morals',
that perhaps it will be well, at the beginning, to make, crudely,
a differentiation. 1 To take refuge in negative definition, man-
ners constitute that portion- of conduct, the neglect of which is,
objectively, an error but not a disgrace. Morals are the funda-
mental decencies of social conduct, manners, the ornament, in
theory, of such conduct. If it be not hair-splitting to distin-
guish between manners and courtesy, we may say that cour-
tesy is manners raised to the dignity of a system, organized
and directed towards the exemplification of a social ideal.
Etiquette based on mere negation is heterogeneous and irra-
tional; only a synthesis will fuse it into a mirror of positive
conduct. One of the questions we must answer is, whether
the literature of manners in Tudor England before Elizabeth,
achieved the status of an ideal of courtesy, whether it was
motivated by an explicit or a merely instinctive striving
after social decency and grace. The material which
may assist in a solution, may be conveniently classified accordT
ing to the audience to which it is addressed, (a) to boys and
pages, 1 (b) to girls, (c) to serving-men, and (d) to gentlemen.
By far the largest quantity of the literature of manners
is devoted to the training of boys. The mass of detailed advice
as to how a boy should behave in any social contingency, per-
suades one that Tudor boys were especially bad, or their tutors
The most recurrent example of this genre is the Stans
Puer ad Mensam. The phrase suggests a vanished social
a To illustrate the loose Tudor usage, Alexander Barclay translated
(1503) Mancinus' De QuattuorVirtutibus ts The Mirrour of Good Man-
ners. Under our definition, the book is ruled out, for there is nothing
but moralizing in it.
usage. The Tudor youth of noble birth often passed a number
of years in the house of some courtier or ecclesiastic, and thus
got much of his social and intellectual training. A familiar
example is Thomas More in the household of Cardinal Morton,
and the play-acting apisode shows the possibilities of such a
relationship for a clever boy arid an interested patron. So the
page, the puer or babee is a common social type, and the Stans
Puer was directed exactly toward his ideal conduct. It is no
easy matter to disentangle the derivations and relationships of
this poem. It is commonly ascribed to John Lydgate, and
Prof. MacCracken attempts to settle doubt as to its authorship
by saying, "as Lydgate names himself in the last line, it is
hard to see what kind of a case can be made out against his
authorship." 2 Authorship, however, of a poem which exists
in nearly parallel versions in both French and Latin, is ticklish
of decision. The Stans Puer exists in numerous manuscripts,
was printed by Caxton once, by Wynkynde Worde in 1518 and
1524, and was adapted for Hugh Rhodes' Boke of Nurture
(1543). Perhaps the most interesting redaction is in Ash-
mole Ms 61, leaf 17 3 , which is fixed at the time of Edward IV,
by the fashion of long sleeves with which the King's Statute
dealt in 1465. There the poem runs to 33J eight-line stanzas.
The introduction is full of moral precepts: we are told that
while the vicious child never thrives, courtesy is sure to pay.
Then the boy is instructed not to fidget or stare when his lord
is speaking to him, to wash his hands before eating, not to
spill things on the tablecloth, to make no noise with his soup,
nor fall asleep over his meal, and
"Thy elbow and armys have in thi thought,
To fere on the tabulle do them not ley.
To myche mete at ons in the mouth be no brought;
For than thou art not curtas, thi better will seye.
Kepe wele thi slevys for touchyng off mete
Ne no longe slevys lasyd luke that thou have." 4
2 EETS., ExS., Vol. 107, p. xxviii.
3EETS., ExS., Vol. 8, pp. 56-64.
4 EETS., ExS., Vol. 8, p. 62, 11. 187-196. Throughout this article, for
convenience in printing and reading, the manuscript yoch is changed,
on occasion, to y or gh t the thorn to th, and u to v.
WAR 20 1965
The page must take care to honor his father and mother, to
walk circumspectly in the street, but not to stare at strangers.
Then the poem tells how the courteous lad must serve his lord
as he washes, and hold a candle for him while he drinks. Pre-
cisely this range of etiquette many more of the tracts of the
The poem How the Wise Man Taught his Son was prob-
ably not printed during this period, but it survived in several
manuscripts. The most interesting version is in Harleian Ms
5369, dated the thirty-fourth year of Henry VI, i.e. 1456. In
this poem the son is told to conduct himself soberly at Mass,
to speak no rash word, to avoid taverns, dicing and women,
not to laugh loudly, (laughter seemed to our forebears to
savour of unseemliness), and not to stay out late o' nights.
Then the father advises shrewdly how to select and how to
keep a wife, in very un-American terms:
"Ther fore, sone, I byd the,
Wyrche with thy wife, as reson ys;
Thof sche be servant in degre,
In some degre she felaw ys.
Nor, sone, bete nott thy wife, I rede,
For theryn may no help be,
Betyng may not stand yn stede,
But rather make hur to despyse the." 5
The father, also, with the staid conservatism of the passing
generation, warns his son against the folly of new ways :
"And sonne, if thou be weel at eese,
And warme amonge thi neighboris sitte,
Be not newfangil in no wise
Neither hasti for to chaunge ne flitte,
And if thou do, thou wantist witte
And art unstable on every side,
And also men wole speke of itt,
And seie 'This foole can no where a bide.' " 6
A very complete, though not exactly original, page's book
is the Boke of Curtasye, Sloane Ms 1986, which Mr. Furnivall
5 Hazlett: Remains of Early Popular Poetry, Vol. I, p. 175, 11. 129-
132-, 11. 137-140.
EETS., Vol. 33, p. 51, 11. 113-120.
and Mr. Bond assigned to 1460. The first section deals with
the boy's table manners, the second with learning and con-
duct abroad, and the third, broken into small bits with Latin
titles, describes the duties of the officials in a Lord's house-
hold. The first part offers nothing new; the second informs
the boy what parts of the Church service he should learn, and
bids him serve the priest at the altar devoutly, and be for-
giving, peaceful, and kind. When among men,
"Leve not alle men that speke the fayre,
Whether that hit ben comyns, burges or mayre."
In strange countries, he should be cautious, he must not laugh
at men who fall down, nor speak ill of women, nor be too
silent, nor further quarrels between brothers.
"Yf thou shalle on pilgrimage go, /
Be not the thryd felaw for wele ne wo;
Thre oxen in plowgh may never wel drawe,
Nothes be craft, ryght ne lawe." 7
"Also, my chylde, agaynes thy lorde,
Loke thou stryfe with no kyn worde,
Ne wajour non with hym thou lay,
Ne at the dyces with him to play." 8
Caxton's Book of Courtesy is perhaps the most distin-
guished example of this genre. The poem exists in Caxton's
edition, in Richard Hill's Commonplace Book (Balliol Ms 354),
and, with an additional stanza, in Oriel Ms 79. The book be-
gins by saying that as childhood knows not which way to turn,
books are to direct it toward virtue. The child of good man-
ners is advised to say the Pater Noster, the Ave, and the
Creed, when he rises, and, while he dresses, to repeat Our
Lady's Matins. When walking, don't throw stones .at the
birds; in church, don't chatter. Look men in the face when
they speak to you. Then a stanza gives the seven conditions
of speaking, several of which are reminiscent of the kinder-
garten rime which ends
"Of whom you speak, to whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.'
-Percy Soc: Vol. 13. ed. J. 0. Halliwell, p. 12, 11. 285-8.
s lbid., p. 10, 11. 225-8.
At table, be companionable, don't slander the absent, don't be
ravenous, share your dainties with your companion; chew
with your lips closed. Play only proper games, and cultivate
graceful accomplishments, for
"It is to a godly chyld wel syttynge,
To use disportes of myrthe and plesance,
To harpe or lute, or lustely to synge,
Or in the prees right mannerly to daunce;
When men se a chyld of such governance
They says 'glad may this chyldis frendis be
To have a chyld so mannerly as is he.' " 9
Then the book rises far above the average of its kind by aspir-
ing to advise concerning the boy's mental training. He is to
read eloquent books, and learn to talk 'to the point. He is to
devote himself especially to Gower's Confessio Amantis, Chau-
cer, and Lydgate. The author apologizes for the beggarliness
of his own style.
"Loo, my childe, these faders auncyente
Ripen the feldes fresshe of fulsomnes,
The floures fresh they gadred up and hente
Of silver langage the grete riches;
Who wolle hit have, my litle childe, ^doutles,
Muste of hem begge, there is no more to saye,
For of oure tunge they were both lok and kaye." 10
The lad who aspires to gentle courtesy must take heed of the
fashions of his time, for customs quickly change. He should
imitate the well-mannered, not the rustic who does not doff
his cap, and is tight-braced enough to burst. On the other
hand, he is not to dress effeminately, nor act Jack Malapert;
to women, he must act so as
"To do them plesure, honoure, and reverence."
This treatise, it will be admitted, is unusually high in tone.
It's poetical touches show some real leavening from the courtly
ideal of Renaissance conduct. 11
9 EETS., ExS., Vol. 3, p. )-, 11. 302-308.
10 Ibid., p. 41, '11. 400-406.
"Other examples of this type are The Babees' Boke, Urbanitatis,
and The Lytylle Childrenes Lytil Boke. In 1557 appears Seager's The
Whether or not Tudor maidens neejded instruction, (and
it would be more courteous to assume that their gentility was
innate) , they did not receive attention to nearly the same de-
gree as the pueri. Very scanty indeed isihe purely English
material ; in fact there is nothing indigenous directed to girls
of gentle birth. Girls of low degree were addressed in a poem
which dates from the 15th century, and outlasted the 16th in
popularity. In this poem, How the Good Wife Taught her
Daughter, the girl is instructed in somewhat callous language,
how she should treat a prospective or attained husband. She
is not to laugh inordinately, and when she goes to market, she
must be cautious, and not take gifts from strangers. She must
not gad about nor show off nor sit alone with men. She should
not slander nor chide her neighbors.
"Yif thou be in any stede ther good drynke is a lofte,
Whethir thou serve or sitte softe,
Mesurly take the offe, that the falle no blame,
Yif thou be ofte dronken, it fallithe the to grete schame;" 12
And, for the spinster, we read:
"Yfe thou wylt no hosbonde have,
but where thy maydon crown,
Ren not about in everi pley,
nor to tavern in toune;
Syt sadly in thin arey,
let mournynge be thi gown;" 13
The married woman must be particularly careful of her
accounts, her servants, and her reputation, when her lord is
away from home. She must not ruin, him with extravagance.
If rich, she should not vaunt, and
Schoole of Vertue, which includes most of the material of all that pre-
cede it. The points are supported by wise saws from Plato, Pythagoras,
Seneca, Pericles, Aristotle, Cicero, etc., but it is doubtful whether this
allusiveness is not the glib carelessness of the Middle Ages rather than
the genuine information of the Renaissance. For all this material, see
EETS., Vol. 32.
isRazlitt: REPP., Vol. 1, p. 183, 11. 51-54.
"EETS., ExS., Vol. 8, p. 43, 11. 134-139.
"Yif thi neyboures wif have riche atyire,
Ther for make thou no stryve, no bren thou noght as f yre ;
But thanke God of that good that he hathe the geven,
And so thou shalt, my good child, in grete ese leaven." 14
At the birth of a daughter the' wise mother will begin
saving for her dowry, and as for discipline :
"Yif thou love thin chiWryn, loke thou holde hem lowe;
Yif any of hem do amys, curse hem nought ne blowe,
But take a smerte rodde, and' bete hem alle by rowe,
Tylle thei crye mercy, and be here gylte a knowe." 15
The sole example of courtly literature for young girls is
The Book of the Knight of La Tour Landry, which was trans-
lated during the reign of Henry VI, was translated again and
printed by Caxton in 1484. How prolonged in popularity the
old literature of manners was, may be judged from the fact
that a French book, completed in 1372, served admirably the
English public a century later. The knight declares his pur-
pose thus : "y purposed to make a litelle boke, in the whiche y
wolde write the good condiciones and dedes of ladies and
gentille-women, that for her goodness were worshipped, hon-
oured, praised, and renomed the tyme passed, and ever shall
be for her wel doinge and goodness, to that entent that my
doughtres shulde take ensample of faire continuaunce and
good manere." 16 Then he proceeds to recount many stories,
each of which has a moral bearing, heavy or attenuated, upon
his daughters' training. General precepts are attained only
by a nai've use of the inductive method.
The knight's ideal! of womanliness, though it be far from
the modern conception, is admirably summed up in his words :
"Alle gentil-women and nobille maydenes comen of good kyn
ought to be goodli, meke, wele tached, ferine in estate, behav-
ing, and maners, littelle, softe and esy in speche, and in an-
swere curteys and gentill, and not light in lokinge." 17 He
advises his daughters carefully how they may best manage
"Hazlitt: REPP., Vol .1, p. 185, 11. 81-84.
isRazlitt: REPP., Vol. I, p. 191, 11. 156-159.
iEETS., Vol. 33 (1906), p. 3, 11.3-8.
17 Ibid., p. 18, 11. 29-33.
their husbands : "the wiff aught to suff re and lete the husbonde
have the wordes, and to be maister, for that is her worshippe,
for it is a shame to here striff betwene hem, and in especial
before folke. But y saie not but whanne thei be allone, but
she may telle hym with goodly wordes, and counsaile hym to
amende yef he do amys." 15 . The cautious father denounces
serving women who ape grand ladies by wearing fur on collars
and heels, and says: "y praie you that ye be not the furst
to take new shappes and gizes of array of women of straung
contrey." He discourages their going to public places, jousts
and pilgrimages, but "yef it happe that ye must nerdes go to
such festis, and that ye may not forsake it when it is night
that thei begynne to syng and daunce, loke that ye have ever
a frende or sum cosin, or servaunt of youres by you, for ferde
and perille and evelle speche." 19 Then the father moralizes
upon the s"even sins of Eve, upon the ill-fortunes of bad women,
and the prosperity of good women. His ideal of female educa-
tion is thus expressed: "it is beter and more noble thinge to
here speke of good ensaumples, and of vertuous levinge of
seintes, which profitethe to oure sowles and body, thanne for
to studie or to rede of fayned stories and fables, such as may
nat cause encrese of science, and is inprofitable unto the soule.
How be it there be suche men that have opynion that thei
wolde not that her wyves nor her doughtres shulde knowe no
thynge of the scripture : as touchinge unto the holy scripture,
it is not force though women medille not nor knowe but litelle
thereof but for to rede ; everi woman it is the beter that canne
rede and have knowinge of the lawe of God, and for to have
be lerned to have vertu and science to withstonde the perilles
of the sowle." 20 By thus culling bits f rom this heterogeneous
18 Ibid., p. 25, 1. 30 p. 26, 1. 3.
19 Ibid., p. 36, 11. 23-25. It is interesting to compare the policy with
the practice of the closely kept maiden. In 1550 Anne Cooke, later,
mother of Francis Bacon, wrote of her translations of Bernardino
Ochions sermons: "If ought be erred in the translation, remember 'tis
a woman's, yea, a gentlewoman's, who commonly are wonted to live
idly, a maiden who never gadded further than her father's house to learn
20 Ibid., p. 118, 11. 124-136.
assemblage of old stories, we may reconstruct, perhaps, a full-
length portrait of this ideal of noble education.
Serving men receive much attention from writers on
manners in this period, for Tudor England, in spite of its
fundamental coarseness and brutalities, laid on, in its upper
ranges, a thick coating of etiquette and formality. It was to
train servants in this elaborate ritual of service that the book
of manners was composed for them. The documents in this
category are the Percy Society's Boke of Curtasye, John Rus-
sell's Boke of Nurture, Wynkyn de Worde's Boke of Kervynge,
and Hugh Rhodes' Boke of Nurture. Over a whole century
these books range, yet an analysis of their contents will show
that there is hardly an important distinction among them in
matter or style.
The Percy Society's Boke of Curtasye, the third part of
which alone concerns us here, gives in detail, the organization
of a great gentleman's menage. There is an account of the
functions, of the marshall, butler, pantler, cooks, grooms, sene-
schal, controller, clerk of the kitchen, treasurer, receiver for
the farms, baker, hunter, water-bearer, carvers, almoner,
sewer, chandler. Here is an example of the book's method:
"The aumenere a rod schalle have in hande,
As office for almes, y undurstonde.
Alle the broken met he kepys y wate
1 To dele to pore men at the gate,
And drynke that leves served in halle;
Of ryche and pore bothe grete and smalle." 21
How elaborate and, perhaps to us, unintelligible, much of the
ceremonial was, a few lines from the instructions of the water-
bearers may suggest : >
"Wosoever gefes water in lordys chamber,
In presensc of lorde or levede dere.,
He shalle knele downe opone his kne,
Ellys he forgetes his curtase,
This ewer schalle hele his lordes borde,
With dowbulle napere at on bare worde:
The selvage to the lordes side withinne,
Soc: Vol. 13, p. 30, 11. 737-741.
And downe schalle heng that other may wynne,
Tho over nape schalle dowbulle be layde,
To the utter syde the selvage brade;
Tho over selvage he schalle replye,
As towelle hit were fayrest in hye;
Brewers he schalle cast ther opon,
That the lorde schulle dense his fyngers [on],
The levedy and whosever syttes withinne,
Alle browers schynne have bothe more and mynne." --
The author of the earlier Boke of Nurture describes him-
self as ''John Russell, sumtyme servande with Duke Umf rey of
Glowcetur, a prince fulle royalle, with whome uschere in
chambur was Y, and mershalle also in Halle." This experi-
enced official describes the duties of a pantler and butler, how
to cut bread, how to 'broach a pipe', how to avoid wine's fer-
menting, how to make Hippocras, how to keep the buttery, to
lay the table, and how waiters should behave. Then with
scientific technicality, Russell describes the carving of all sorts
of meat, fowl and fish, and gives menus for fish days, for flesh
days, for a franklin's feast, with lists of devices (mottoes) to
put on his puddings. One of the most valuable passages in
the book is a description of the chamberlain assisting his lord
to dress, it ends
"Then lace his doublett every hoole so by and bye;
On his shuldur about his nek, a kercheff there must lye,
And curteisly than ye kymbe his hed with combe of yvery,
And watur warme his handes to wasche, and face also clenly.
Then knele a down on your kne, and thus to youre soverayn
"Syr, whate Robe or gown pleseth it you to were today?"
Such as he axeth fore loke ye plese hym to pay
Than hold it to hym abrode, his body there-in to array;" 23
We enter still deeper into the gentleman's privacy, when we
read of a Tudor bath.
"A basyn full in youre hande of herbis hote and fresche;
And with a soft sponge in hand, his body that ye wasche;
22Fercy Soc: Vol. 13, p. 30, 11. 651-666.
23EETS., Vol 32, p. 177, 11. 899-906.
Rynse hym with rose watur warme and ferre uppon him
Then lett hym go to bed, but look it be soote and nesche." 24
A nice distinction we note in Russell's order of precedence.
"Right so reverend docturs, degre of 12 yere, them ye must
To sitt above hym, that commensed hath but nine.
And thaughe the yonger may larger spend gold red and fyne,
Yet shalle the eldur sitte above, whethur he drynke or
dyne." 2 -
It is very significant of the steady persistence of courtly
taste that much of the matter of Rhodes' Boke of Nurture 26 is
most similar to that of other examples of this class of a cen-
tury earlier. It opens with a prose preface 'Why Parents
should teach their Children and Servants', among other rea-
sons, because "it is a hye servyce to God, it getteth favour in
the syghte of men, it multiplyeth goods, and increaseth thy
good name, it also provoketh to prayer by which Gods grace
is obtayne'd." The second section, also in prose, gives the
'Manner of Serving a Knyght, Squyre or Gentleman', how to
prepare dinner, how to behave, while waiting at table, and
how to clear it. Then comes 'How to order your Maysters
Chamber to bed warde.' Next crops up Rhodes' or some other
man's version of 'Stans Puer.' Perhaps the heart of the whole
matter is the section Tor the Waytyng Servaunt.' All con-
tingencies of the servant's life the astute Rhodes is ready to
meet. He counsels him as to friends, dress, the rewards of
truthfulness, and the penalties of oaths, sloth, and quarrels.
He bids him c,ontrol his tongue, and
"Use honest pastyme, talke or synge ,or some Instrument use :
Though they be thy betters, to hear they will thee not refuse."
24 Ibid., p. 183, 11. 983-986.
25 Ibid., p. 193, 11. 1153-1156. We may pass over Wynkyn de Worde's
Boke of Kervynge as it is merely a prose adaptation of Russell's com-
ments on that subject.
26 This popular book seems to have been printed before 1554 by T.
Petit, between 1561 and 1575 by T. Cobwell, between 1551 and 1586, by
Ab. Veale, in 1586, by T. East, and in 1577 by H. Jackson.
Much needed advice the counsellor proffers concerning mar-
riage, and heaps all the traditional evils upon the gentle heads
After line 237, the poem degenerates into moralizing for
all sorts of people ,and sweet common-place such as
"It is better to be poore and to lyve in rest and myrth,
Then to be riche with sorrow, and- come of noble byrth."
Perhaps a hint of Tennyson's melodious democracy peers
through the lines :
"Be not to bolde in your array nor yet boast of your goods :
More worth is honesty, be sure, then gawdy velvet hoodes."
Rhodes comes nearest to expressing in commonplace language,
his commonplace ideal in
"A Gentleman should mercy use
to set forth his nativitye:
He should be meeke and curteous,
and full of humanitye.
Pore men must be gaythfull
and obedient in lyving,
Avoyding all rebellyon
and rigorous bloodshedding." 27
Whither we might expect most of the literature of man-
ners to be directed, we find least. The gentleman or courtier,
if he depended on books for his guidance, must have fared ill,
at least, until late in this period. If the truth be told, Sir
Thomas Elyot's The Governour is the only creation which
without much stretching of the terminology, may be called a'
veritable courtesy-book. We may, indeed, get a glimpse of
noble intercourse from A Booke of Precedence, Harl. Ms. 1440,
leaf 11. Here are the fine shades indeed. We learn how an
Earl is created, and what title falls to a noblerwoman who
marries above her rank or (miserabile!) below it. We learn of
the distribution, according to rank of 'powderyngs' and
'assayes.' A Viscount "may have in his owne howse the cupp
of Assaye houlden under his cup when he drinketh, but none
assaye taken ;" the length of one's robe etiquette also fixes :
"A Duke ... he to have in his howse a Cloth of Estate, and
in every place Els out of the princes presence, so that the same
2-EETS., Vol. 32, p. 101, 11. 677-684.
com not to the ground by halfe a yarde; and likewyse a
dutchesse may have her Cloth of estate, and a barones to beare
up her trayne in her owne house." 28 A delicate distinction is
suggested in "neyther may the marchionesse have her gowne
born in a Dutchesses presens but with a gentile-man ffor it is
accounted a higher degree borne with a woman then with a
man ;" 29
The old physician and world-trotter, Andrew Borde, may
be made to contribute a few lines to the picture. His Boke of
the Introduction of Knowledge is a veritable encyclopedia of
travel, giving the customs, manners, fashions, coinage and con-
versation of nearly all the countries of the then-known world.
"The people of France," he says, "doo delyte in gorgious ap-
parell, and will have every daye a new fashion. They have no
greate fantasy to Englyshmen; they do love syngyng and
dansyng and musicall instrumentes ; and they be hyghemynded
and statly people." 30 "The Lomberdes be so crafty, that one
of them in a countrey is enough to mar a whole countrey,"
and his Italian says "Every nacion have spyed my fashions
out." Being a shrewd old gentleman, Borde turned his criti-
cism upon his own nation, and was not reluctant to point out
such a short-coming as its impatience with learning. His 16th
century Englishman says :
"I am an Englishman, and naked I stand here,
Musyng in my mynde what rayment I shal were;
For now I wyll were thys, and now I wyl were that,
Now I wyl were I cannot tel what.
All new fashyons be plesaunt to me;
. I wyl have them, whether I thryve or thee." 31
Sir Thomas Elyot's The Governour comes, after all, near-
est to incorporating the full spirit of the Renaissance in its
bearing on the training of nobility. How broad the lines of
this book are may be judged from the fact that Hallam in the
19th century called it the earliest treatise on moral philosophy
in English, and now Professor Foster Watson denominates it,
2 EETS., ExS., Vol. 8, p. 13.
29 Ibid., p. 15.
3 EETS., ExS., Vol. 10, p. 191.
"the first book on the subject of Education written and printed
in the English language." Amid the pleadings of special in-
terests, we must not forget that the central purpose of the
work is the training of a governor for a monarchy. The plan
is so spacious that, though its focus is a sovereign and ours a
gentleman, it includes much matter which falls within our
interest. That lies not in education as an end, but in education
as a means to the moulding of a perfect courtier. Elyot dis-
cusses the very beginning of his hero's education, the choice
of a nurse, and the advisability of his having after the age of
seven, "onely such as may accustome hym by litle and litle to
speake pure and elegant Latin." 32 Elyot encourages, in the
gentleman, the training of an artistic aptitude, qualified, how-
ever, by the amateur spirit so characteristic of the Italian
courtier: , "I intende not, by these examples, to make of a
prince or noble mannes sonne, a commune painter or kerver,
which shall present him selfe openly stained or embrued with
sondry colours, or powdered with the duste of stones that he
cutteth, or perfumed with tedious savours of the metalles by
him goten. . . . Yet shall they nat be by him exercised, but as
a secrete pastime, or recreation of the wittes, late occupied in
serious studies." 33 The author disposes of the barbarous idea
that to be a scholar is to be ungentlemanly. "There be some,
which, without shame, dare affirme that to a great gentilman
it is a notable reproche to be well lerned and to be called a
great clerke : which name they accounte to be of so base esti-
mation, that they never have it in their mouthss but whan they
speke any thynge in derision." 34 Elyot devotes several chap-
ters to manly sports; wrestling, running, swimming, riding,
vaulting, hunting, and shooting with the long bow. Here too
appears the essential gentility of his attitude': "Some men
wolde say, that in mediocritie, which I have so moche praised
in shootynge, why shulde not bowlynge, claisshe, pynnes and
koytyng be as moche commended ? Verily, as for two the laste,
be to be utterly abiected of al noble men, in likewise foote-
balle, wherin is nothinge but beastly furie and extreme vio-
32 Elyot's The Governour, ed. H. H. S. Croft, Vol. I, p. 35.
33 Ibid., p. 48.
4 Ibid., p. 99.
lence ; whereof rancour and malice do remaine with them that
be wounded ; wherefore it is to be put in perpetuall silence,"
but "Huntyng of the hare with grehoundes is a righte good
solace for men that be studiouse, or them to whom nature .hath
not gyven personage or courage apte for the warres. And
also for gentilwomen which fere neither sonne nor wynde for
appairing their beautie. And perayenture they shall be there
at lasse idell, than they shulde at home in their chambers." 3G
The refined morality with which the subtle author theorized
upon his behavior appears in the half-dozen chapters on
'dauncing.' Besides describing the technique of Tudor dances,
Elyot moralizes the performance as the game of chess had
been treated earlier. To the unsympathetic reader, the treat-
ment is ridiculous enough; refinement verges on perversity.
The most obvious evidence, of course, of Elyot's human-
ism is his wide and thorough classical learning with which he
pads every chapter and bulwarks every precept. In this book
appears, if anywhere in England before 1557, the characteris-
tics of the courtly type of the Renaissance, the ideal of fully
rounded development, the cultivation of the artistic and ath-
letic impulses, the stress on 'readiness of wit and knowledge
in letters/ the carefully balanced and perfected self -conscious-
At last, the question must be faced of the influence of
Italian courtesy literature on that of Tudor England. Facts
of intercourse, of exchange of travellers, of Italian specialists
physicians and swordsmen at the court, of English gen-
tlemen at the Italian universities, it has been fairly easy to
establish. 37 But how quickly did this interchange appear in
literature? Did adoption of theory follow or precede adop-
tion of practice? In the first place, we must remember the
persistence of method, manner and matter in the material
Wm. Rossetti, in his Essay on Early Italian Courtesy
Books 38 analyses the more important examples from 1300 to
35 Ibid., p. 294.
36 Ibid., p. 195.
37 See Lewis Einstein: The Italian Renaissance in England, Chap. II.
38 EETS., Vol. 8, Pt. 2, pp. 1-76.
1600, but makes no attempt to establish the amount of their
influence in England. In Italy, to be sure, we find as early
as 1290 in Fra Bonvesino da Riva's Fifty Courtesies of the
Table the same kind of precepts which the Stans Puer con-
tained, but Agnolo Panofini',? Governing of a Family ( 142 5-30)
and Matteo Palmieri's Dialogue on Civil Life (1430)
do not resemble, superficially, at any rate, any of our speci-
mens. As for the great Italian examples, their influence can
be shown to be absent or very indirect. Baldassare Castigli-
one's The Courtier was published in Italy in 1528; it was
translated into French in 1538, into Spanish in 1540, while it
did not receive an English translation till that of Sir Thomas
Hoby appeared in 1561. What influence this work may have
had on Elyot, (and his is the only work where there is any
likelihood of influence,) must have been through the original,' 30
and so far as Mr. Croft has pointed out, there'are no notice-
able resemblances. Delia Cassa's Galateo, written in 1550,
was too late a contribution to influence anything considered
here. Elyot's model, at times a rather close one, was Fran-
cesco Patrizi's D'e Regno-et Regis Institutions, printed in Paris
in 1518, 1520, 1550, and 1577, and appearing in Italian in 1545
and 1547. It may safely be said, then, that the direct influ-
ence of any true Italian courtesy book on this period in Eng-
land, is negligible or non-existent.
From this somewhat distended mass of facts and analyses,
several conclusions, I trust, emerge. 1. The larger quantity of
Tudor books of manners is divided to boys, pages, and serving
men. Small is the matter for girls and gentlewomen, and sur-
prisingly meagre is that devoted to the training of gentlemen.
2. The contents, style and method of practically all this litera-
ture are constant from about 1430 to 1557, with the exception,
perhaps, of the personal distinction of Caxton's Book of
Courtesy. 3. The bulk of matter constitutes a literature of
manners, not a system of courtesy. 4. The influence of Italian
courtesy literature is practically negligible. To 3 and 4, Elyot's
The Governour is the sole great exception.
FRED. B. MILLETT.
30 Elyot's The Governour appeared in 1531, and before fifty years
had passed, eight editions had been published, the latest in 1580.
No. 15, Modern British Foreign Policy, by J. L. Morison.
No. 16, Federal Finance, by O. D. Skelton.
No. 17, Craft-Gilds of the Thirteenth Century in Paris, by P.
No. 18, The Co-operative Store in Canada, by H. Michell.
No. 19, The Chronicles of Thomas Sprott, by Walter Sage.
No. 20, The Country Elevator in the Canadian West, by W. C.
No. 21, The Ontario Grammar Schools, by W. E. Macpherson.
No. 22, The Royal Disallowance in Massachusetts, by A. G.
No. 23, The Language Issue in Canada; Notes on the Language
Issue Abroad, by 0. D. Skelton.
No. 24, The Neutralization of States, by F. W. Baumgartner.
No. 25, The Neutralization of States, by F. W. Baumgartner.
No. 26, Profit-Sharing and Producers' Co-operation in Canada,
by H. Michell.
No. 27, Should Maximum Prices Prevail? by W. C. Clark.
Canada, by Walter Sage.
No. 28, Sir George Arthur and His Administration of Upper
No. 29, Canadian Federal Finance II, by O. D. Skelton.
No. 30, English Courtesy Literature Before 1557, by Fred. B.